As we all know, the world we live in is a dangerous place. If any of us should be foolish enough to forget it, the world will be glad to remind us. From hurricanes destroying cities, to microorganisms wiping out villages, there are many things in this world that can do us harm, both individually and collectively.
As preppers, we need to have a fairly good grasp on the threats that there are around us. While there is a certain amount of preparedness that we can do without knowing the specific risks we face, knowing them gives us the advantage of being able to make more complete plans. Those plans will hopefully translate into us having the right supplies and skills, when a disaster strikes.
The trick is, knowing which sorts of disasters are most likely to strike. In some cases, that is the same for the en tire country, while in others it is specific to the region in which we live. Natural disasters are generally regional, with every part of the country having their fair share. But larger sorts of disasters, such as a loss of the electrical grid, could very easily blanket the whole country in darkness. It just depends on the type of disaster and how severely it strikes.
Risk managers in companies evaluate the various risks their company makes, looking for two things:
- Likelihood of the problem happening
- Impact if the problem happens
While they ultimately want to develop plans to mitigate any problem that could strike their company, they can’t work on everything at once. So they prioritize the potential risks, looking at both the likelihood and the impact. Those which are high on both scales are tackled first. Those which are high on one, but not the other will be ranked according to their importance and those which are unlikely to happen and have a minimal impact are largely ignored.
So, what are the disasters that we should concern ourselves with?
Of all the disasters we can face, natural disasters are the most likely. It seems that every region of the country has its own particular brand of natural disasters. The Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard are plagued by hurricanes every year; the Midwest has its tornadoes and California is just waiting to fall off into the Pacific Ocean.
You need to be aware of the natural disasters that are likely to occur in your area. If you live in Kansas, it will do no good to prepare for a hurricane. Nor will it do any good to prepare for a blizzard if you live in Arizona. Your preps have to be in accordance with the types of disasters you could face.
One of the most important part of preparing for a natural disaster is doing what you can to ensure that your home survives it. While this isn’t always possible, anything you can do to help your home survive, will also help you to survive. Your home is your shelter, and without it, you’ll need an alternative.
Another important part of preparing for natural disasters is preparing to evacuate your home, a “bug out.” There are times when staying in place (bug in) is not safe, such as Hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans. If an evacuation is called for the area you live in, you want to be ready to go, hopefully fast enough that you will be able to beat the rush and not be caught in traffic.
Personal Financial Disaster
Pretty much everyone faces a personal financial disaster sometime in their life. But few think of prepping for it. Then, when the disaster strikes, they are left without a plan or the necessary resources to make it through.
One of the central supporting columns of prepping is stockpiling food and other supplies. That food and those supplies are for use during a disaster. So, if you are struck by a financial disaster, doesn’t it make sense to use those supplies? Then, once you’re back on your feet, you can replenish them. Doing this cuts your monthly expenses and makes it possible for your family to eat well, even without an income.
Of course, the main thing you need in any personal financial disaster is cash. Financial planners tell us that we should have enough money to cover three months of expenses at all times. That way, we can continue life as normal, while we’re looking for a job.
Loss of the Electrical Grid
One of the biggest risks we face today is that of the loss of the electrical power grid. Much of our electrical grid is old, having already surpassed its expected lifespan. Yet we continue to use it due to the cost and difficulty of replacing it.
Pretty much any natural disaster brings with it a loss of power; but that’s only on a local level. There are also risks that could take out the entire grid, leaving our nation without power. These attacks include terrorism, cyberwarfare and an EMP (electromagnetic pulse). With both North Korea and Iran working on building nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them (intercontinental missiles), the possibility of an EMP attack cannot be ignored.
Terrorist attacks and cyberwarfare attacks against the grid have already been tested by unknown parties. So these options are very real, should someone want to use them. Merely destroying nine electrical substations, assuming they are the right ones, would being the whole grid crashing down.
Of all the possible disaster scenarios we face, the loss of the grid is the most serious. Our country is highly dependent on electrical power for almost anything. Without it, we can’t heat or cool our homes; the water will shut off; transportation will shut down and the entire supply system we all depend on will come to a screeching stop.
Economists and financial experts have been prophesying a serious financial collapse for years, something more serious than the Great Depression. A large part of that is due to our high national debt. Granted, our nation’s economy is the largest, most powerful on earth and the American dollar is the world’s reserve currency; but all it would take to cause some serious problems is for other countries to refuse to continue lending our country money or for investors to stop buying US bonds.
While a financial collapse wouldn’t bring about the death and destruction that a natural disaster can cause, it would cause serious problems for a large portion of our nation’s population. Based upon what has happened in other countries that have had a financial collapse, about one-fourth of our population would be out of work, with runaway inflation.
It is possible to survive such an event and even to thrive through it; but not without proper preparation. More than anything, the cost and availability of food would affect people. Those who lost jobs would be hit the hardest, with little prospect for finding another. Those who had the capability of starting their own business would have the greatest chances of survival.
Anyone who pays attention to the news, especially the news out of Europe, knows that terrorism is alive and well in the world today. While most terrorist acts are mere acts of barbaric violence, terrorist are becoming more sophisticated all the time. Large scale attacks, such as taking out water or gas supplies or even starting a pandemic are not unfathomable.
Even the more violent sort of terrorist attacks can have serious consequences, destroying lives and disrupting the lives of many more. While this is happening more in Europe today, than it is in the United States, we could see an increase at any time.
There are many other disaster scenarios that could affect us, ranging from the explosion of the Yellowstone Supervolcano to the sea life in the Pacific Ocean being poisoned by the Fukushima reactor. You will hear people talk about all sorts of potential disasters as you continue your life as a prepper. Just keep in mind that while there are many possible disasters, not all are likely. The tricky part is to try and figure out how likely they are to hit you and then get ready for the most likely.
In 2014 the Ebola virus broke out in a regional epidemic in West Africa, killing 11,325 people. The spread of this disease was so quick, that there was serious concern about it becoming a worldwide pandemic. As Ebola has about a 75% mortality rate, that would have been catastrophic.
I personally made preparations to quarantine my family in our home, should the virus reach our area. However, unlike some people, I did not go overboard, buying gas masks and even the $1,500 suits that medical professionals use in researching these situations. I deemed the risk fairly low, so I spent accordingly. All in all, I spent roughly $200 in my preparations, just in case.
Today, that equipment sits on a shelf in my garage, unused. Should another such event happen, I will be ready? At the same time, I am not bewailing having spent thousands of dollars, for an emergency that did not occur. My actions matched the level of risk.
That’s the secret. Some potential disasters will warrant a larger investment, just because the risk is greater. Your challenge, as mine, is in determining how big a risk any potential disaster is, and prepping.